Saturday, 17 March 2012

Guatemala: Legacy of the civil war

The recent long jail sentence for Pedro Pimentel Rios for his role in the massacre of 201 people has been widely reported, but I just wanted to highlight two articles that go a bit deeper into the aftermath of the violence for English-speaking readers.

IPS does its usual sterling job at discussing the issue of reparations.
"The programme distributed 576 housing units here in 2011, but they were only half-built," another survivor, Manuel Tay, told IPS from the northwestern province of Chimaltenango. "We had to buy cement and steel, pay a builder, and even haul in construction materials to finish the houses."

Tay, who lost five of his siblings during the conflict, said the houses are made of such "simple materials that some of the houses weren’t even three months old and the floor was already cracked."
Victims of war, victims of oblivion (IPS)

Meanwhile, the BBC turns its attention to the pyschological consequences of the war with the story of former guerrilla and pyschologist
Maria Tulia Lopez Perez.

"Judicial justice is the best form of compensation for victims, much better than money or anything else," says Maria, but she says too few people have been tried.

[...] But she says there in post-war Guatemala there has not been enough focus on healing people's psychological wounds.

"We must liberate the victims from all this weight they are carrying which stops them from living normal lives."

Healing Guatemala's emotional scars from the civil war (BBC)

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